Coinsquare

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Coinsquare
Coinsquare logo.jpg
Founded 2014
Headquarters Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Key People Stacey Hoisak, CEO, Simon Palmer, CTO (Disgraced: Virgile Rostand, Founder & Managing Director; Cole Diamond, CEO; Felix Mazer, CCO)
Employees 50-200
Twitter @coinsquare
StockTwits Coinsquare
LinkedIn Profile
Facebook coinsquare.io
Website Coinsquare Homepage
Blog https://news.coinsquare.com/

Coinsquare is a scandal-plagued cryptocurrency trading platform based in Toronto, Ontario, whose mission is "to revolutionize and simplify the buying and selling of digital assets, while delivering on industry-leading and user experience."[1]

History

Coinsquare was founded in 2014.[2]

Riot Blockchain, a cryptocurrency investment and technology development firm based in Castle Rock, Colorado, had a contract with Coinsquare to help it develop a trading platform in the U.S. While Riot Blockchain was under investigation in 2018 for its sudden name change and industrial pivot, the contract was terminated. Riot Blockchain was known as Bioptix before turning to bitcoin mining.[3]

In February 2019, Coinsquare laid off approximately 30 percent of its staff, citing the volatility and unpredictability of the cryptocurrency markets, and the need to "responsibly manage its resources," according to a statement by the company's CEO, Cole Diamond.[4]

Wash trading

In a "Statement of Allegations" the Ontario Securities Commission said on July 16, 2020 that Coinsquare had engaged in market manipulation. According to the government, for the 17 months between July 17, 2018 and December 4, 2019 Coinsquare had deployed its proprietary Market Volume Function which caused the platform to report 840,000 wash trades. Those wash trades constituted approximately 90% of the platforms reported volume for the period. According to the statement, the commission's enforcement staff and Coinsquare agreed to settle the charges.[5]

The Settlement Agreement required that three senior executives step down from the company and be banned from the industry for up to two years because, according to the agreement, "the three had 'authorized, permitted or acquiesced' Coinsquare staff to carry out the wash trading, made misleading statements and sought retribution against a whistleblower seeking to expose the misconduct." Coinsquare Founder and Managing Director Virgil Rostand, CEO Cole Diamond and CCO Felix Mazer also were fined 900,000, one-million, and 50,000 Canadian dollars, respectively. Along with the company itself, Diamond and Rostand agreed to pay 300,000 Canadian dollars in administrative costs.[6]

Just Cash acquisition

In July 2019, Coinsquare announced that it had acquired a controlling stake in ATM manufacturer Just Cash to enable its customers to carry out cryptocurrency transactions through its ATMs.[7][8]

Data theft

In November 2019, hackers stole the personal information of approximately 5,000 Coinsquare users, including email addresses, physical addresses, and phone numbers. Coinsquare responded by immediately informing law enforcement, data protection agencies, and all impacted users. Later, the exchange made extensive changes to its internal systems. Stacey Hoisak, general counsel at Coinsquare, said "the data was obtained as the result of employee theft of information contained within a client relationship database used for prospecting."

One year later, an anonymous hacker claiming to be responsible for the attacks, contacted the news website Vice, saying that the user information was stolen to "embarrass" Coinsquare "for claiming they (sic) the most secure Canadian exchange."[9]

Tax reporting

The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) asked a Canadian federal court in September 2020 to order Coinsquare to disclose to the CRA all of its customers and their transactions starting in 2013. The agency argues increased scrutiny of cryptocurrency trading platforms is reasonable due to the pseudonymous nature of cryptocurrencies and the ability of users to disguise transactions. Saying that the company had not decided its response, Coinsquare CEO Stacey Hoisak told the National Post, “Coinsquare maintains a robust customer verification process, and we understand our customers comply with all applicable Canadian laws relating to their cryptocurrency trading activities.”[10]

Products and services

Coinsquare's trading platform, available for iOS and Android users, enables its users to trade cryptocurrency using both digital assets and fiat currency. The platform uses two-factor authentication and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption for security.[11][12]

Digital asset OTC trading

Coinsquare supports OTC trading for bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Cash SV, Dogecoin, Dash, Ripple, Ethereum Classic, and Stellar.[13][14] Coinsquare supports four funding options using fiat currency: CAD, EUR, CHF, and USD.[15]

Advanced trading

The main platform is designed to be user-friendly enough that most people can use it. The company also has an "Advanced Trading" option for more experienced, "higher net worth" traders. While this function contains analytical tools, it lacks some functions that experienced traders may be used to, such as the ability to place stop losses during a trade.[16][17][18]

Key People

  • Stacey Hoisak, CEO
  • Simon Palmer - CTO
  • Virgile Rostand - Founder, Managing Director (disgraced)
  • Cole Diamond - CEO (disgraced)
  • Felix Mazer - CCO (disgraced)

References